30 Days of Sober Sarah

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways
All my underdogs, we will never, never be
Anything but loud and nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won’t you come on and come o, and
Raise your glass
Just come on and come and
Raise your glass

~Pink: Raise Your Glass

I love a good wine. I love sitting outside with Jason at our favorite wine bar and people-watching over a fabulous glass of unexpected goodness. I love wine-tasting and bottle exploration. I crave conversations over cocktails, innovative mixologists, Blender Bottles of rum on the beach, and day-drinking around town. I appreciate free drinks in airport lounges while waiting out flight delays. I enjoy a cold beer for brunch on Sundays after a long week and a long, hot, and humid run. I am no teetotaler.

I am though, someone who cares a great deal about her body and her well-being. I am also someone who had hit a weight and strength plateau. Hard. A figurative face-plant to the wall. So I said to myself, “Self, let’s run a little experiment.”

If you know me, you know I eat very clean. Except for 1) Cheese 2) Dark chocolate 3) Whey protein 4) Alcohol 5) Popcorn. (Of course, one slip allows another. A little dark chocolate becomes a piece of dessert. A slice of cheese becomes a charcuterie plate…with bottles of wine.)

Whey went first and was replaced by plant-based protein. Cheese followed soon behind and was strangely not missed.

I then decided to stop drinking for the month of July. What would I feel like? What would be different? Would it even matter? Would my brain work better? Would my body hum harder?

Along with the alcohol I committed to clearing away with the whole freaking list. Just swipe it off the table and crash the goods to the floor.

So here I am on August 2nd at three in the afternoon and still alcohol-free. I’ve been offered wine twice today and said “no”. No! What the hell? Dry July is over, bitches!

Here’s the deal. I feel good; I feel really damn good. I’m almost afraid to jack it up because it is that good. And I don’t want to waste the “first drink” on something mediocre. I want it to be spectacular. An Orin Swift  ‘Prisoner-caliber’ spectacular in a glass.

Observations outside the looking glass:

  • The first week I craved sugar in an almost inhuman way. I may have eaten my weight in bing cherries as a compromise.
  • My workouts are more effective. Every day that I’m not traveling I am doing a two-a-day. Hard training sessions and longer cycle rides. I can lift more with more repetitions and endure longer. I am sure I could run a 1/2 marathon right now with zero training and only a little complaining.
  • I recover faster.
  • I may not have achieved the short-term memory lift I was hoping for, but the mental clarity is almost dangerous. Awesome for me; dangerous for others.
  • Our market bills and restaurant receipts have gotten considerably smaller.
  • I have not gotten any smaller or lighter. I am tighter and harder.
  • I miss exceptional wine.
  • I love, love, love waking up clear.
  • Both my creative and my physical energy is stoked hot. I want to write while running. I want to draft presentations when spinning. I think alcohol may have dampened some serious ADHD.
  • Sober Sarah is still entertaining to be around.
  • My sleep has not improved in the ways that I had anticipated. I do sleep better than usual some nights, and then suffer the same insomnia others. I actually now blame the mental clarity, the crazy energy, and the creative whiplash.
  • I cheated with popcorn. I cheated with unsweetened baker’s chocolate of high and expensive quality. I respect my vices and savored my choices.
  • This experiment was easy. Being a stubborn ox of a woman has its advantageous.

I will drink tonight; I will drink something fabulous. I will go back to respecting the vine and not the size of the bottle. Sober Sarah has her place, and she may return tomorrow.

3 responses to “30 Days of Sober Sarah”

  1. This is a great retrospective on dry July – I decided to ‘loosely’ do dry July, and had 2 exceptions (both were planned, and both left me feeling really underwhelmed!), and I’m carrying dry July over into August as I have a race in September. But it’s great to feel so re-energised! Although, like you I miss a quality glass of wine… One more month to go 🙂

  2. This is one of the more inspirational posts I’ve read. I’ve been having a beast of a time cutting back on booze. Like you, I’m a rabid wino who loves how great juice enhances life 🙂 Regardless, after this weekend’s wine dinner, I’m done til after the marathon…thanks for the extra kick! It just needs to be done.

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